USTR Open Gov Plan

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USTR Open Gov Plan

  1. 1. Office of the United States Trade Representative Open Government Plan April 2010 .
  2. 2. I. Introduction .......................................................................................................................................... 1 A. Purpose of the Plan ....................................................................................................................... 2 B. Ambassador’s Commitment to Open Government Principles...................................................... 2 C. Goals and Priorities ....................................................................................................................... 3 D. Stakeholder Engagement and Plan Development ........................................................................ 7 E. Organization and Governance ...................................................................................................... 8 F. Changing the Culture .................................................................................................................... 9 G. Measuring the Success of Open Government ............................................................................ 11 II. Transparency....................................................................................................................................... 12 A. High-Value Data Sets................................................................................................................... 12 High-Value Information Currently Available ............................................................................... 12 New Postings and Identification Process .................................................................................... 12 Proposed New Data Sets............................................................................................................. 13 Trade Agreements in Plain English and Tariff Schedules ........................................................ 13 Freedom of Information Act Requests and Responses........................................................... 13 B. Transparency Initiatives .............................................................................................................. 13 Guidance ..................................................................................................................................... 13 Trade Negotiations...................................................................................................................... 13 First-Ever Reports on Agricultural, Technical Barriers to U.S. Exports. ...................................... 14 Special 301 .................................................................................................................................. 14 Federal Trade Advisory Committee System ................................................................................ 15 State Coordination ...................................................................................................................... 15 New Media Website.................................................................................................................... 15 Records Management ................................................................................................................. 16 Freedom of Information Act ....................................................................................................... 17 i
  3. 3. Congressional Requests for Information .................................................................................... 18 Responding to Congressional Requests for Information ........................................................ 19 Declassification Program............................................................................................................. 19 III. Participation .................................................................................................................................... 19 Web Links .................................................................................................................................... 19 USTR Redesigned Website .......................................................................................................... 20 Public Comment and Hearings .................................................................................................... 20 Trade Advisory Groups Membership Review ............................................................................. 21 Outreach to New Stakeholders ................................................................................................... 21 Open Door Message.................................................................................................................... 21 USTR Main Street ........................................................................................................................ 21 Media Engagement ..................................................................................................................... 21 IV. Collaboration................................................................................................................................... 22 Open Government Webpage ...................................................................................................... 22 Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises ......................................................................................... 22 Congressional Consultation ........................................................................................................ 22 Interactive Events ....................................................................................................................... 22 Increased Access to Experts ........................................................................................................ 22 Intergovernmental Coordination ................................................................................................ 23 Connections with Trade Communications Partners ................................................................... 23 Coordination with Export Promotion Agencies .......................................................................... 23 Trade Education .......................................................................................................................... 23 Dispute Settlement Proceedings................................................................................................. 23 New Technology Platforms ......................................................................................................... 24 ii
  4. 4. V. Flagship Initiative -- Trans-Pacific Partnership .................................................................................... 24 Overview ..................................................................................................................................... 24 Plan To Engage Public/Maintain Dialogue .................................................................................. 24 External Partners......................................................................................................................... 25 Metrics ........................................................................................................................................ 25 How Initiative Will Be Sustained ................................................................................................. 26 VI. Public and Agency Contribution to the Plan ................................................................................... 26 Public ................................................................................................................................................... 26 New Media Tools ........................................................................................................................ 26 Feedback Form ............................................................................................................................ 26 Employees ........................................................................................................................................... 26 Open Government Steering Committee ..................................................................................... 26 Sought Further Employee Involvement ...................................................................................... 27 VII. The Way Ahead ............................................................................................................................... 27 iii
  5. 5. I. Introduction The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and overseeing negotiations with other countries. The head of USTR is the U.S. Trade Representative, a Cabinet member who serves as the president’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. USTR provides trade policy leadership and negotiating expertise promoting the administrations trade policy to open markets throughout the world to create new opportunities and higher living standards for families, farmers, manufacturers, workers, consumers, and businesses. The nature of this mission and our trade advisor, negotiator, monitoring and enforcement and dispute litigator responsibilities requires us to work effectively with a diverse group of stakeholders. To fully achieve our mission requires the participation of all our stakeholders – the public, non- governmental agencies, states, businesses, other government agencies, and Congress. President Obama has charted a course for economic recovery that will restore growth and promote broad-based prosperity. It will emphasize improvements in the living standards of American families while reorienting our economy to meet today’s challenges – energy, the environment, and global competitiveness. Pressing economic conditions requires USTR to respond to immediate trade problems while staying true to our long-term goals. The President’s approach will be to promote adherence to the rules-based international trading system in order to promote economic stability, while introducing new concepts – including increasing transparency and promoting broader participation in the debate – to help revitalize economic growth and promote higher living standards at home and abroad. The clear implication of these global challenges is that simply lowering tariffs and eliminating tariffs will not produce a successful trade policy. Managing our nation’s trade policy and engagement in the world economy has become an ever more complex challenge. Therefore, we must bring the same vigor and innovation to making trade policies more transparent and accountable that we are now applying to the process of developing and implementing our domestic economic policies. This plan focuses on expanding the conversation between all of our stakeholders. USTR’s goal is to integrate two way communications to enable more effective trade policies and agreements. 1
  6. 6. A. Purpose of the Plan The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the Open Government Directive (OGD) on December 9, 2009. This directive requires all federal agencies to produce an Open Government Plan describing how they will address transparency, participation and collaboration in their activities. This document is the first open government plan of USTR. This plan has been developed in accordance with OMB memo M-10-06, Open Government Directive: “To create an unprecedented and sustained level of openness and accountability in every agency, senior leaders should strive to incorporate the values of transparency, participation, and collaboration into the ongoing work of their agency. Achieving a more open government will require the various professional disciplines within the Government – such as policy, legal, procurement, finance, and technology operations – to work together to define and to develop open government solutions. Integration of various disciplines facilitates organization-wide and lasting change in the way that Government works.” Assistant United States Trade Representatives (AUSTRs) and other senior USTR officials collaborated in developing the plan as members of USTR’s Open Government Steering Committee. The plan addresses: (1) how USTR is improving transparency; (2) how USTR is improving participation; (3) how USTR is improving collaboration; (4) how the Open Government Flagship Initiative is incorporating transparency, participation and collaboration; and (5) how USTR is using public and employee involvement to contribute to the plan. B. Ambassador’s Commitment to Open Government Principles On March 3, 2010, United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk commented on USTR holding hearings on intellectual property protection and enforcement: 2
  7. 7. “President Obama has committed to opening up this Administration’s policy efforts to public input. USTR continues to work hard to be inclusive, and to be attentive to the public’s views.” At USTR’s senior staff meetings, Ambassador Kirk described the importance of embracing the Open Government initiative at all levels at USTR. He emphasizes doing business with transparency, participation and collaboration. He noted that from day one of this Administration USTR has developed and implemented a number of new ―open government‖ initiatives. He has consistently stressed the importance of formally creating and institutionalizing a culture of open government: “Success in open government requires USTR leadership, governance, and culture change to drive transparency, participation (from the public and every employee in USTR), and collaboration.” In that spirit, USTR established a cross-USTR Open Government Steering Committee. Core membership includes Administration, Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, Public and Media Affairs, Policy Coordination, FOIA, and the General Counsel. C. Goals and Priorities USTR is committed to President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, helping to create a government that is transparent, participatory, and collaborative with the American people. As USTR works to create trade policy that benefits American workers and families, the Open Government initiative is a vital tool in maintaining an open dialogue with the American people. The following are the USTR annual performance goals and metrics that reflect commitment to open government: Ensure the effective ongoing functioning of existing U.S. free trade agreements, as a means of enhancing U.S. trade and investment objectives and expanding trade and investment between the U.S. and partner countries. Establish FTA working groups on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to facilitate expanded SME trade opportunities under the FTA; invite SMEs from U.S. and FTA partner countries to provide input on the benefits and challenges to SME trade under the FTA. Reach out to U.S. stakeholders in the private sector and NGO community for their views on how to improve the export potential of our existing agreements. 3
  8. 8. Lead and coordinate the interagency process with 21 other Federal agencies at the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) level and at the Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) senior policy level. Participate actively in interagency decision-making processes led by other agencies. Work with Federal agencies providing assistance to SMEs (including the Small Business Administration, Eximbank, OPIC) to more effectively link their work to trade policy and trade promotion goals. Work to make 75 percent of decisions on trade policy matters at the TPSC (AUSTR/Assistant Secretary) level to ensure that only the most sensitive and/or important decisions are sent to the Deputies (Undersecretaries) at the TPRG level. Work with the State Department through the circular 175 process to ensure coordination and consistency of negotiations and agreements that other agencies conduct with implications for U.S. trade policy objectives. Work with State, USAID, and NSC, through the Development Policy Coordination Committee, to ensure collaboration and coordination on trade-related development policy and assistance programs. Achieve a new level of Congressional access, contact, and consultation. Conduct and expand Congressional consultations with a focus on the Committees of jurisdiction, but with additional contact to include active caucuses, members, and other committees interested in trade issues. Respond to Congressional inquiries in a timely manner and solicit viewpoints as issues arise. Conduct regular calls and/or meetings with interested staff to update them on the work of the USTR. Regularly consult with Congressional Leadership and Committees of Jurisdiction lead staff for the upcoming week. Consult with Small Business Committees on initiatives aimed at increasing exports by small and medium-sized firms in the United States. Seek Congressional support for USTRs trade agenda and efforts. Present arguments effectively to Members and staff for actions we need Congress to take including funding the agency, authorizing necessary programs, approving trade agreements, and supporting initiatives that encourage export promotion. Develop and implement a broad consultative process to help ensure support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership by our committees of jurisdiction, as well as other committees interested in trade. Actively engage Congress to support approval of legislation, if necessary, of programs for Afghanistan and the border areas of Pakistan, with the aim of combating the unemployment and economic underdevelopment that is fueling the insurgency. Ensure a coordinated message from critical Administration stakeholders, working with the 4
  9. 9. Departments of Defense and State, and other agencies. Build broad coalitions with labor, business, environmental, small businesses, faith-based groups, local activists, consumer, state and local government interests to inform the public of, and build support for, the U. S. trade agenda and to secure Congressional approval of trade agreements and passage of other trade legislation. Continue to develop a robust advisory committee system through appointment and consultation with a diverse and experienced group of advisors. Implement USTR’s expanded definition of ―outreach.‖ Take the new USTR message(s) and ensure that our invitation reaches out to every group. Educate the public on how trade works for their families and communities every day. Rebrand the image of USTR to ensure that it reflects our open door message and that trade benefits for working Americans are explained. Create new opportunities for interested parties to participate and provide a variety of viewpoints on trade in light of the changing global market and current administration’s goals of transparency Enhance our Advisory Committee system to make it more reflective of a diversity of opinions and expertise. Increase transparency and increase public access to our experts, while ensuring the ability of USTR to negotiate effectively. Create a USTR-wide proactive communications strategy to explain the benefits of trade to domestic constituencies and interest groups. Use USTR’s website as a communication tool to share information about USTR accomplishments, and as an outreach tool to serve the needs of the public (industry, small business, consumer groups etc). Use ―USTR Main Street,‖ to inform them of USTR actions/accomplishments, showing how these activities can work for them. Encourage the public to share news with ―USTR Main Street.‖ Enhance state and local government outreach and education efforts on the benefits of trade. Build a database that is inclusive of all stakeholders. Use this database to share news, accomplishments and updates from USTR. Build support for U.S. trade policies and initiatives with a strong domestic and international press strategy that conveys the benefits of a robust, rules-based global trading system for American farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers, and for our trading partners around the world. In particular, increase use of stateside press to emphasize domestic benefits of trade. Focus domestic trade communications on the potential for increased American exports to contribute to job growth and overall domestic economic recovery. 5
  10. 10. Communicate USTR’s ongoing mission to fulfill the President’s Trade Policy Agenda to the American people through proactive press engagement and direct interaction with media and the public by Ambassador Kirk, the Deputies and a wide variety of USTR staff. Seek opportunities to amplify USTR’s domestic message by establishing or strengthening press partnerships with states, localities, and nongovernmental organizations. Communicate U.S. trade policies and positions to our trading partners and to international audiences through relationship-building with foreign media, and by maximizing press opportunities as Ambassador Kirk and other USTR staff travel abroad. Communicate successes of a rules-based, robust, and progressive global trading system to both domestic and international audiences. Continue the review of all USTR practices to ensure greater transparency. Work in partnership with the White House and with interagency partners to coordinate an Administration-wide message on trade. Coordinate across the Administration, with particular focus on those agencies whose missions intersect most with USTR (including the Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, and the National Security Council to accurately describe trade policy and to reflect the President’s Trade Policy Agenda, emphasizing together how smart trade policy translates into better lives and better jobs for American families. Create connections with these interagency trade communications partners to examine trade messaging and opportunities for coordination Coordinate with export promotion agencies working with SMEs (including the Commerce Department, the Export-Import Bank, and the Small Business Administration) to integrate trade policy and trade promotion efforts in order to identify new opportunities for expanding SME trade. USTR, particularly the Congressional Affairs and the Intergovernmental Affairs/Public Liaison offices, will work to increase transparency and communication with Congress and with trade stakeholders. Ensure that the website is a strong tool for planned outreach efforts such as the USTR Main Street Project; work with IAPL to highlight stories of American families, small businesses, and local economies that benefit from a smart and progressive trade policy. Reinforce the website as a portal for input on trade policy from stakeholders and from the public at large. Publish a weekly newsletter updating USTR actions, policies, and plans. Work cooperatively and in a bipartisan fashion with members of Congress whenever possible to promote shared trade goals in the press. 6
  11. 11. Increase USTR’s use of technology to increase transparency and to communicate the potential benefits of trade. Continually improve USTR’s redesigned website to make USTR’s mission and activities more accessible to the public; add additional features to ensure maximum use by members of the media, the public, and stakeholders. Continue using new media tools, consistent with White House efforts, to provide supplemental outreach and interaction with the public to the extent possible given budget and staffing constraints. Specifically, utilize web logs, video streams, and interactive graphics as additional avenues of dialogue regarding USTR’s mission to make trade work for American families. D. Stakeholder Engagement and Plan Development USTR stakeholders are a broad and diverse cross-section of organizations and individuals, including the general public, non-governmental agencies, businesses, states, Congress and other federal agencies. To supplement many of our face-to-face meetings with this large and varied group, to solicit input for greater transparency, participation and collaboration, USTR has been relying on its new website since launch in early 2009. The Office of Public and Media Affairs manages USTR.gov, an interactive website that allows USTR to create and maintain an open dialogue on trade policy. Key features on USTR.gov include an ―Ask the Ambassador‖ section, a blog, a ―submit your stories‖ section, and an interactive travel map. Using a new Open Government Feedback Form, the public is encouraged to share their ideas for how USTR’s open government plan can increase transparency, participation, and collaboration. They are asked to tell USTR what information we should prioritize for publication and their thoughts on the quality of our published information. Comments received are provided to all members of the Open Government Steering Committee for discussion and further open government action planning. During the building of this plan, recommendations centered around two issues: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations and all other trade- related meetings. There was a desire to make all advisory committee, negotiating, and policy development meetings, and texts available to the public in ―real time.‖ USTR will gain experience while executing this plan and will apply resulting best practices and lessons learned to existing and future activities. USTR plans to share our experiences with other agencies and to solicit feedback on their successes and challenges. USTR’s Open Government Plan will be a living document, and we expect to provide updates on a periodic basis. Notifications of any planned revisions and revised documents will be available on the Agency’s 7
  12. 12. open government website. USTR is seeking resources to bring on board a new media specialist to manage the initiative. The public is welcome to submit ideas and feedback on ongoing efforts described in the plan, and USTR will explain how the Agency considered the input. USTR will also share how the public can follow our progress and identify opportunities for participation. E. Organization and Governance Leadership commitment is essential for success. In response to the Open Government Directive, USTR established an open government governance structure to guide and conduct immediate activities, to evaluate the need for changes to administrative policies, and to look for ways to institutionalize open government within the organizational structure. Deputy USTR and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) leadership was tasked to provide staff resources and ideas to implement outreach initiatives. The Ambassador charged RADM Fred Ames, USCG (Ret.), Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) for Administration, with leading the Open Government initiative. Mr. Ames supervises USTR’s Director of Information Technology and Director of Finance and as such his office manages the lifecycle of information and resources that supports USTR’s mission. The Office of Administration responsibilities cut across the Agency, and the Office also supports many of the functions necessary to execute, monitor and report progress in meeting open government principles. USTR established a cross-agency Open Government Steering Committee made up of Senior Executive Service employees from key responsible offices within the Agency. This group is charged with setting open government policy and direction while meeting legal and intergovernmental deliberation requirements. The group also works to secure resources in support of USTR’s plan and associated projects. Core membership includes the Office of Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Public and Media Affairs, Office of Economic Affairs, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, Office of Market Access and Industrial Competitiveness, Office of Policy Coordination and Information, Office of Congressional Affairs, Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and the Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation. The Open Government Steering Committee regularly reports out to the Chief of Staff and Deputy USTR’s. The Committee is supported by two teams: 8
  13. 13. Open Government Media Team: Staff from the Office of Public and Media Affairs and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison. This team is responsible for direct interaction with the public and key stakeholders. Open Government Data Team: Staff from the Office of Administration and the Office of Policy Coordination and Information. This team is responsible for posting data, monitoring plan progress and coordinating revisions to the plan. F. Changing the Culture In the March 2010, the President’s Trade Agenda: Making Trade Work for American Families was released. In this new agenda, an explicit change in culture was embraced: “U.S. trade policy development needs to become more transparent. Many stakeholders are frustrated with the lack of consultation involved in the development and implementation of trade policy, but we can and should expand public participation in advising U.S. trade negotiators. The methods for doing so will have to evolve but improved websites for the trade policy agencies and more public consultation venues outside the established advisory groups are important steps toward this goal.” From the beginning of the new Administration, USTR’s leadership and staff have embraced openness in a variety of ways. USTR rebranded its image to ensure that it reflects an open door message and that trade benefits for the average American are well understood. USTR began to leveraging technology with the launch of a new website in early 2009 to help us meet the principles of open government—transparency, participation and collaboration. USTR is taking particular steps towards openness in negotiations. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations. USTR has been intensively consulting internally, with the White House, and with other agencies since last year to develop a strategy for enhancing transparency of the ACTA negotiations. USTR will be holding further discussions with trading partners in mid-April to consider additional steps to facilitate meaningful public input into the negotiations. USTR’s Flagship Initiative will focus on the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement negotiations. The Administration is developing its negotiating objectives for the TPP Agreement consistent with its pledge to engage fully with diverse stakeholders in America. To that end, this Administration has embarked upon an unprecedented scale and scope of consultative outreach related to TPP involving all 50 states and Congressional committees of jurisdiction and other interested committees. As 9
  14. 14. the TPP negotiations proceed, USTR will continue active outreach to industry, NGOs, and other stakeholders, including outreach in an effort to ensure that stakeholders around the country understand the goals of this negotiation and can contribute to the development of a new 21st- century trade agreement that reflect U.S. priorities and values. USTR will continue using new media tools, consistent with White House efforts, to provide supplemental outreach and interaction with the public. Web logs, video streams, Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletter, events and speeches around the country serve as avenues of dialogue regarding USTR’s mission to make trade work for American families. USTR’s OpenGov page allows for the American public to ask USTR questions, review Annual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reports, and contact USTR officials. As USTR works to create trade policy that benefits American workers and families, the Open Government initiative is a vital tool in maintaining an open dialogue with the American people. To further create and institutionalize a culture of open government at USTR, we solicited interested employees throughout the Agency to represent their regional and functional offices on the Open Government Steering Committee. We have opened lines of communication to all employees for their ideas on this initiative. We shared the draft Open Government Plan with all employees and incorporated their ideas for improvement. As a result, we made substantive improvements to the plan and both internal processes and our website along the way. The Ambassador’s media event schedule is routinely provided weekly to our press contacts. We will be posting this for the public too. These actions and others under consideration not only open USTR to the public, they give USTR staff at all levels of the organization insight into their senior leadership, mission progress and a new way of doing business in the sunlight. USTR’s Open Government Steering Committee is actively investigating other means to continue expanding the conversation at USTR, including incentives/recognition, financial awards, training and a communication plan. Our Open Government Plan continues to foster USTR’s commitment to openness with a mission-focused framework for engaging our stakeholders, especially the public. 10
  15. 15. G. Measuring the Success of Open Government USTR anticipates a progression over time in how we measure the success of Open Government. Some of that measurement will be qualitative (i.e., how well we execute on this plan and our performance goals and objectives). We will report progress with respect to execution of the plan to the public on our Open Government website (www.ustr.gov/open) on a quarterly basis in the ―Evaluating Our Progress‖ area. In development are the quantitative metrics for the success of Open Government at USTR. Our current metrics are: Transparency: Number of high-value data sets published. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) backlog, time to respond, and total requests processed. Participation and Collaboration: Number of opportunities for the public to provide input into the work of the Agency. Number of USTR public collaboration activities. These metrics will need to be refined and others added via cross-USTR dialogue as our work progresses. USTR will look to the public to help us define relevant measures. USTR will develop standard metrics for measuring the success of efforts to engage the public. These metrics will go beyond volume of participation (e.g., number of comments received) to the impact of participation (e.g., number of ideas from the public that are adopted and what impact they have on results delivered by the Agency). The ultimate measure of the success of Open Government at USTR is its impact on achieving our mission which requires the participation of all our stakeholders—the public, non- governmental agencies, states, businesses, other government agencies, and Congress. The central objective of Open Government is to enable USTR to deliver better on its mission of opening markets throughout the world to create new opportunities and higher living standards for families, farmers, manufacturers, workers, consumers, and businesses. In our reports on our Open Government execution, we will describe the qualitative and quantitative impact that Open Government is having on USTR’s mission performance as part of an ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of our Open Government programs and policies. 11
  16. 16. II. Transparency A. High-Value Data Sets High-Value Information Currently Available. As the trade policy agency within the Executive Office of the President (EOP), USTR routinely uses trade-related data produced by other trade agencies and can assist the public in using this data by posting it in an open government format. USTR has a content-rich website that contains all related trade information or links to important trade data. For example, under the "Trade Toolbox," links to the U.S. ITC and WTO provides valuable trade data collected and maintained by those organizations. Access is also available to all applicable U.S. Trade Laws and other related trade links. All trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries are also posted, along with the associated Advisory Committee Reports and the final texts of the agreements. All trade dispute settlement matters are available in their entirety. In total there are more than 20,000 documents posted. A link to ―USTR Archives‖ on the front page of the website provides access to previous Administration trade documents. New Postings and Identification Process. USTR has posted its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) logs and a trade data set from the Annual Trade Report. We are consulting via our Open Government Steering Committee and have reached out to all employees for their ideas on making available other high-value data sets. During the collaboration process, new ideas were suggested to make trade information readily accessible and useable by business and the public. For example, we discovered that the ―Trade Capacity Building Database,‖ maintained by U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) was not clearly linked from our Trade Capacity Building (TCB) webpage. In response, we changed the landing text to expand the hyperlink to ―database maintained by USAID‖ and added a second hyperlink titled ―Database of US Govt. Trade Capacity Building‖ to the right call out box of ―TCB Resources.‖ Another suggestion being implemented is to insert hyperlinks into the overview of dispute settlement matters documents: Dispute Settlement Update and Snapshot of WTO Cases Involving the United States at: http://www.ustr.gov/trade-topics/enforcement/overview-dispute-settlement-matters. This would make it immeasurably easier to locate the individual disputes for further information. 12
  17. 17. Proposed New Data Sets USTR has identified high-value information not previously available and established target dates for posting. Trade Agreements in Plain English and Tariff Schedules All Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are posted in their entirety. As these are written as legal documents, they do not readily lend themselves to use by the general public, especially businesses seeking information as to how particular agreements affects the products and services they would like to sell to the partner countries. Therefore, we are working on a pilot project to post ―plain English‖ summaries of the agreements in an open government format along with the associated country tariff schedules as datasets. The latter are especially high value as USTR receives numerous calls for information that would now be readily available and downloadable. There are 23 tariff schedules of almost 30,000 lines of data each. Target for completion is December 31, 2010. Freedom of Information Act Requests and Responses USTR will immediately begin publishing each incoming Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and its response. USTR will publish past FOIAs and associated responses of special interest to the public. USTR has established a 60-day target for publishing past FOIA responses requested by the public. B. Transparency Initiatives Guidance. USTR has reviewed existing US Government transparency initiative guidance including eRulemaking, IT Dashboard, Recovery.gov, and USAspending.gov. Of these initiatives, only eRulemaking (www.regulations.gov) currently applies to USTR. USTR implemented eRulemaking in October 2008. Since then, over 3,200 public comments have been received on public notices posted by USTR. Public submissions to regulations.gov are posted back out for public review within two days. eRulemaking provides optimum consistency, transparency, and records management for USTR’s comment solicitation process with the public. Trade Negotiations. USTR undertook a review of the transparency policies for trade negotiations. Confidentiality remains an essential tool of diplomacy; but, timely public debate and review of major agreements is also essential. In the case of significant agreements that do not require Senate 13
  18. 18. advice and consent or Congressional approval, USTR is introducing other means to assist meaningful public comment. USTR’s Flagship Initiative will focus on the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement negotiations. This new initiative presents an excellent opportunity to engage more robustly and in new ways with the American public to gain input as the Administration crafts its trade policy. Further explanation of this initiative can be found in Part V. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). USTR has laid out the policy premises for the ACTA negotiation and the details of the negotiating process more fully than in the past. USTR sought advice from a broad group of experts, including representatives of intellectual property rights holders, Internet intermediaries, NGOs, and others, about prospective U.S. positions on IPR enforcement in the digital environment. USTR won an endorsement from the countries in the negotiation of the importance of providing for meaningful public input to the negotiating process before its conclusion. USTR has been intensively consulting internally, with the White House, and with other agencies since last year to develop a strategy for further enhancing transparency of the ACTA negotiations. USTR will be holding further discussions with trading partners in mid-April to consider additional steps to facilitate meaningful public input into the negotiations. First-Ever Reports on Agricultural, Technical Barriers to U.S. Exports. In March 2010 USTR transmitted to Congress the 2010 National Trade Estimate (NTE), which describes significant barriers to U.S. trade and investment faced in the last year as well as the actions being taken by USTR to address those barriers. In addition, USTR delivered two new, related reports focusing specifically on sanitary and phytosanitary barriers and technical barriers to trade that harm the ability of America’s agricultural producers and manufacturers to export around the world. In announcing the release, the Ambassador noted: ―The Obama Administration is following through on its commitment to call out and break down barriers to American exports worldwide. This year, we’ve gone beyond obligatory reporting to focus on some of the toughest hurdles America’s farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers face when they try to sell overseas. USTR will take the information in these new reports, as well as in the National Trade Estimate itself, and use all the tools that we have to get these markets open to American products.‖ Special 301. USTR held a new public hearing on the Special 301 review, a process that culminates in the release of the annual Special 301 Report evaluating trading partners’ intellectual property rights (IPR) protections and enforcement. The new hearing opened the floor to more than two dozen individuals representing foreign governments, non-profit 14
  19. 19. organizations, and industry groups. Those individuals offered testimony to the interagency Special 301 subcommittee regarding a range of intellectual property matters, including pharmaceutical patents and digital copyright infringement. Full audio from the hearing was posted on www.ustr.gov. This Special 301 hearing is a prime example of USTR’s direct engagement with members of the public and stakeholders. Federal Trade Advisory Committee System. USTR’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement (IAPE) administers the federal trade advisory committee system and provides outreach to, and facilitates dialogue with, state and local governments, the business and agricultural communities, labor, environmental, consumer, and other domestic groups on trade policy issues. The advisory committee system, established by the U.S. Congress in 1974, was created to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiating objectives adequately reflect U.S. public and private sector interests. The advisory committee system consists of 28 advisory committees, with a total membership of approximately 700 advisors. USTR is committed to ensuring the public has notice of the date and schedule of all advisory committee meetings. For the committees which USTR has sole jurisdiction, (ACTPN, TEPAC, TACA) and upon approval by our co-administrators for those committees which are jointly administered with other agencies (LAC, ITACs, APAC, ATACs) meeting schedules will be posted on the USTR website under their relevant committee heading or on the general USTR calendar. Posting of the committee schedules will increase the public’s awareness of the issues and allow for greater consultation with all stakeholders. See http://www.ustr.gov/about- us/intergovernmental-affairs for further information on the advisory committee system, functions and membership. State Coordination. The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement (IAPE) has been designated as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and World Trade Organization (WTO) State Coordinator. As such, the office serves as the liaison to state points of contact and state and local government officials and associations on trade issues of interest. IAPE coordinates USTR’s outreach through facilitating USTR briefings; participating in public speaking engagements; notification of USTR notices in the Federal Register soliciting written comments from the public and publicizing Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) public hearings; and meeting with a broad spectrum of groups at their request. New Media Website. The Office of Public and Media Affairs manages USTR.gov, an interactive website that allows USTR to create and maintain an open dialogue on trade policy. 15
  20. 20. Key features on USTR.gov include an ―Ask the Ambassador‖ section, a blog, a ―submit your stories‖ section, and an interactive travel map. The website’s blog is used to inform the public of upcoming events, as well as current events at USTR. The public can sign up for the USTR ―Trade Talk Email Newsletter.‖ This email newsletter contains news and information regarding United States trade policy and is delivered electronically to subscribers who have requested to receive correspondence from USTR. USTR plans to offer users of USTR.gov the opportunity to register to receive alerts via email when sections of the website are updated. Records Management. USTR is responsible for creating and preserving records that adequately and properly document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of USTR. USTR’s records management policy establishes specific requirements under which USTR records are effectively and efficiently managed throughout their lifecycle to facilitate the accomplishment of USTR's programmatic and administrative missions; to preserve official USTR records in accordance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements; and to promote access to information by USTR staff, USTR partners, and the public, as appropriate. This responsibility is delegated to the Assistant US Trade Representative (AUSTR) for Administration. The AUSTR for Administration is responsible for leadership, planning, overall policy, guidance, and general oversight of records management in the Agency, and its incorporation into the broader information resources management framework. The General Counsel assists in determining what records are needed to provide adequate and proper documentation of USTR activities and in specifying appropriate disposition for USTR records. The General Counsel also assists in determining the retention of Agency records that may be needed for internal investigation and audit purposes. The vital records program is one element of the Agency’s emergency management and disaster preparedness and records management functions. USTR must identify and protect those mission essential records that specify how USTR will operate in case of an emergency, disaster, or threat of disruption, and those records essential to the continued operations of the Agency. Supporting documents include USTR’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). The Executive Office of the President’s central file servers and email system are designed to remain available in case of an emergency, disaster, or threat of disruption. All USTR vital records are stored on these systems. Further information on USTR’s record management system and vital records can be found at: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/reading-room/freedom-information-act-foia/electronic-reading- room. 16
  21. 21. Freedom of Information Act. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is located in the Office of Policy Coordination and operates under the authority of the Assistant USTR for Policy Coordination, who is the Chief FOIA Officer for the Agency. The FOIA Program is managed by the Chief FOIA officer with a FOIA specialist and a FOIA Attorney. Together they provide guidance to the Agency’s 240 employees on FOIA policy, including the new presumption of openness outlined in the Attorney General’s FOIA guidelines, dated March 19, 2009. On receipt of a FOIA request, the FOIA specialist transmits the request by e-mail to the action Assistant USTR(s) who has 48 hours to name the person on his/her staff that will be responsible for the FOIA. The FOIA specialist adds the FOIA to the FOIA log, and transmits the due date to the action officer. At a weekly FOIA meeting of the Chief FOIA Officer, the specialist and the attorney, the status of all FOIAs is reviewed and the action offices are contacted to ascertain if they are on course to complete the FOIA. In the new Administration, several changes have been made to the FOIA program to make it more responsive to the public. The President’s FOIA Memorandum and the Attorney General’s FOIA guidelines have been discussed in Senior Staff meetings to ensure that all managers understand the presumption of openness. The USTR and the General Counsel have underscored the importance of transparency throughout the Agency, and particularly in the FOIA program. To be sure that the Attorney General’s guidelines were well understood, USTR contacted the Justice Department to arrange for a training session by two of their attorneys. Each USTR unit designated at least one individual to attend the training and to brief their office mates. To respond to FOIA requests with more accurate information and in a timelier manner, the USTR FOIA Staff instituted a process of contacting requestors with the relevant USTR staff present to achieve a precise understanding of the scope of the request. If the request is overly broad, USTR will seek to narrow it to match the requestor’s interest, and, therefore respond with more accurate information. In addition, USTR has instituted a policy of having a FOIA staff member personally review and challenge every individual exemption for openness with the responding office in every FOIA request. In order to fully automate the FOIA program and cut down on processing time for FOIA requests, USTR recently subscribed to the ―Software as a Service (SaaS) Public Records Tracker. Two FOIA staff members have attended a web training session for the program. In addition, all outstanding FOIAs will be entered into the tracking system of the Executive Secretary of the Agency beginning in April 2010. By circulated weekly to the Senior Staff, this electronic system ensures that FOIAs are given the highest visibility within the Agency and that 17
  22. 22. follow-up on late FOIAs takes place in a timely fashion. The adoption of these two systems will enhance USTR’s ability to establish and monitor metrics regarding timely processing. USTR receives about 50 FOIAs per year. They generally fall into one of four categories: trade agreement negotiating documents, correspondence with members of Congress, correspondence with interest groups, and disputes documents. USTR is pledged to reduce its backlog by 10 percent a year, as called for by this Administration, which will bring its backlog to 17. USTR will monitor this goal on a monthly basis to ensure that it is met in FY 2010. In 2008, USTR undertook a three year backlog reduction plan which is available at http://www.ustr.gov/sites/default/files/FOIA-Backlog-Goals.pdf. The Obama Administration’s goal exceeds this earlier benchmark. As part of this Open Government initiative, USTR will begin publishing each incoming FOIA request and its response. Additionally, USTR will publish past FOIAs and associated responses that the public notes as special interest. The following web site link further details on USTR’s FOIA process: http://www.ustr.gov/about- us/reading-room/freedom-information-act-foia. USTR Annual FOIA Reports (in both PDF and XML formats) are available at: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/reading-room/freedom- information-act-foia/annual-foia-reports. Congressional Requests for Information. The Office of Congressional Affairs plays a pivotal role in the development of U.S. trade policy through communication with the U.S. Congress. The Office manages relations with Congress for the U.S. Trade Representative. The Office of Congressional Affairs acts as a point of contact for staff and members of Congress to ensure that our trade policy is responsive to their needs and interests. The Office of Congressional Affairs provides briefings to Congress and interested third party stakeholders, responds to Congressional inquiries, provides advice to Congressional constituents, and coordinates with other USTR offices to help negotiate trade agreements and resolve trade disputes. Transcripts of all past hearings and notices of upcoming hearings are posted on the USTR website. The Office is staffed with an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs, a Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs, and normally two or three Congressional Affairs Assistants. 18
  23. 23. Responding to Congressional Requests for Information The Office of Congressional Affairs also oversees all Congressional correspondence. When a Congressional letter or request for information is received by the USTR, it is entered into our tracking system, and tasked out to the appropriate staff for response. USTR’s Correspondence Analyst follows up and works with USTR offices, as appropriate, to ensure items are responded to in a timely manner. Along with the Executive Office of the President (EOP), USTR is implementing a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. USTR plans to migrate to the new system in May 2010. The new CRM system gives the USTR several new capabilities that provides for more efficient management of correspondence. The system will allow our small staff to respond to a large number of customers, quickly and efficiently. USTR’s process provides high-level visibility of all Congressional correspondence. Our goal is to guarantee that all Senators, Congressmen, and Committee leadership have been afforded the benefit of written USTR responses before the Ambassador is scheduled to meet with them. Further information is available at: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/congressional-affairs. Declassification Program. USTR annually reports to the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) all material which was originally classified by USTR Original Classification Authority (OCA) during the fiscal year, as well as all material derivatively classified as part of USTR's operations. As part of the annual review/report, all newly classified material is independently reviewed by the Director of Security for possible declassification consideration. Throughout the year, the USTR conducts coordination with the CIA Declassification Center to review for declassification all USTR classified material and equities that have reached the 25- year mark for declassification. To expedite the process and ensure public availability of government information that no longer requires classification after 25 years, the CIA has arranged with USTR to automatically declassify USTR documents unless USTR instructs them otherwise. USTR declassification program can be found at: http://www.ustr.gov/about- us/reading-room/public-handbook-gaining-access-ustr-information. III. Participation Web Links. The following is a description of and links to appropriate websites where the public can engage in existing participatory processes of USTR. www.regulations.gov. The public may provide / review comments regarding USTR’s proposed rulemaking and non-rulemaking trade initiatives. 19
  24. 24. http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/ask-ambassador. The public may ask the USTR Ambassador questions. A variety of questions on popular or current topics are chosen to be answered on the USTR.gov blog. Those not answered on the blog are logged and routed for response through electronic correspondence in the Executive Secretary’s office. http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/contact-us/your-comment. The public may send questions, comments, or concerns about trade issues to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. ―Advisors.gov.‖ USTR cleared advisors serving in the statutory advisory committee system may access confidential documents online via a password-protected secure encrypted website, and provide input to trade negotiators. USTR Redesigned Website. As USTR develops and maintains its Open Government Plan, we seek the public’s input on the information we currently provide on our content-rich website, www.ustr.gov. USTR’s website underwent an extensive redesign effort completed in June 2009. The redesign addressed a number of issues including compliance with Section 508 (accessibility for visually impaired). In March 2010 USTR implemented automated translation of the website. With a single click, the site is now available in 54 languages. The new design enables flexible site growth and expansion, effectively communicates USTR’s brand, and is inviting to user interaction. The website enables Americans to follow trade policy news and updates, as well as to share their questions and their trade stories with USTR. USTR also launched social media outreach including Facebook and Twitter feeds, where Americans across the country and people around the globe can get the most up-to-date information about USTR's actions. USTR will seek to continually improve the redesigned website to make USTR’s mission and activities more accessible to the public and adding additional features such as livestreams, interactive videos and more to ensure maximum use by members of the media, the public and stakeholders. Public Comment and Hearings. USTR extended the expansion of comment and advice into the Special 301 process that pinpoints key challenges for U.S. intellectual property-based businesses affected by piracy, counterfeiting, and other forms of IPR theft. In 2010 USTR will introduce a more far-ranging public hearing to assure that Special 301 decisions are based on a robust understanding of complicated issues involving intellectual property. USTR’s 20
  25. 25. commitment to public engagement will contribute to the development and implementation of sound, well-balanced trade policies to ensure the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Trade Advisory Groups Membership Review. Membership on official trade advisory groups was reviewed to increase the diversity of perspectives from citizens with expertise on the issues. New membership rosters will be announced as committees come up for re-chartering, beginning in the first quarter of this year. In keeping with the President’s goal of reducing the influence of special interests on U.S. policy, the Administration also has announced that registered lobbyists will not be appointed (or reappointed) to these committees in the future. Outreach to New Stakeholders. USTR will continue to expand our definition of ―outreach‖ with new USTR messages and ensuring that our invitation reaches out to every group by expanding outreach events around the country to include new stakeholders, especially small businesses, and utilizing electronic communications tools such as the e-newsletter and web and video to reach new stakeholders. Open Door Message. USTR rebranded its image to ensure that it reflects our open door message and that trade benefits for the average American are well understood. USTR will continue using new media tools, consistent with White House efforts, to provide supplemental outreach and interaction with the public to the extent possible given budget and staffing constraints. Specifically, utilize web logs, video streams, and interactive graphics as additional avenues of dialogue regarding USTR’s mission to make trade work for American families. USTR Main Street. USTR will use the website as a communication tool to share information about USTR accomplishments and as an outreach tool to serve the needs of the public (industry, small business, consumer groups etc). USTR is planning to develop, budget permitting, ―USTR Main Street.‖ This feature will engage the public with USTR action/accomplishments showing how these activities can work for them. The public will be encouraged to share the news down their Main Street and share their story with ―USTR Main Street.‖ This tool will reflect real peoples’ stories and allow direct and personal communication. Media Engagement. USTR will continue to communicate to the American people USTR’s ongoing mission to fulfill the President’s Trade Policy Agenda, through proactive press engagement and direct interaction with media and the public by Ambassador Kirk and a wide variety of USTR staff. Opportunities will be sought to amplify USTR’s domestic message by 21
  26. 26. establishing or strengthening press partnerships with states, localities, and nongovernmental organizations. IV. Collaboration USTR’s new process of collaboration for trade policy development is described within this link to the President’s Trade Policy Agenda and is further expanded in this plan. Open Government Webpage. USTR launched its Open Government Webpage on February 5, 2010. USTR is committed to President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, helping to create a government that is transparent, participatory, and collaborative with the American people. USTR’s Webpage page allows for the American public to ask USTR questions, review Annual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reports, and contact USTR officials. As USTR works to create trade policy that benefits American workers and families, our Open Government initiative is a vital tool in maintaining an open dialogue with the American people. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. USTR will establish, as appropriate, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) working groups on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to facilitate expanded SME trade opportunities under the FTA; SMEs will be invited from U.S. and FTA partner countries to provide input on the benefits and challenges to SME trade under FTAs. Congressional Consultation. USTR will conduct and expand Congressional consultation with a focus on the Committees of jurisdiction but additional contact to include active caucuses, members, and other committees interested in trade issues. We will consult with Small Business Committees on initiatives aimed at increasing exports by small and medium-sized firms in the United States. Interactive Events. USTR will create new opportunities through events with the USTR and USTR staff, for interested parties to participate and provide a variety of viewpoints on trade in light of the changing global market and current administration’s goals of transparency. Increased Access to Experts. USTR will increase transparency and increase public access to our experts, while ensuring the ability of USTR to negotiate effectively by enhancing the Advisory Committee system to make it more reflective of a diversity of opinions and expertise. As described in above, membership on official trade advisory groups was reviewed to increase the 22
  27. 27. diversity of perspectives from citizens with expertise on the issues. New membership rosters will be announced as committees come up for re-chartering. Intergovernmental Coordination. USTR will coordinate across the Administration, with particular focus on those agencies whose missions intersect most with USTR (including the Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, and the National Security Council) to accurately describe trade policy and to reflect the President’s Trade Policy Agenda, emphasizing together how smart trade policy translates into better lives and better jobs for American families. In particular, USTR is a member of the Open Government Jobs Working Group. The Group was established to document the Administration’s commitment to economic recovery and job growth. The group will operate with an unprecedented level of openness and accountability and harness new processes, methodologies, and technologies to disseminate trusted information rapidly and in a form the public can readily use. The group’s specific actions - within the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration - will identify existing programs, jobs data and strategic drivers in a way that demands collaboration and robust participation by the public. As one of its first objectives, the group is creating a database of ongoing programs that identify market opportunities. Connections with Trade Communications Partners. USTR will create connections with trade communications partners to examine trade messaging and opportunities for coordination. In particular, the Office of Public and Media Affairs will continue to participate actively in the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) in the service of the President’s National Export Initiative and will continue to coordinate with international trade communications partners individually and through multilateral forums such as the Trade Communicators group at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Coordination with Export Promotion Agencies. USTR will coordinate with export promotion agencies working with SMEs (including the Commerce Department, the Export- Import Bank, and the Small Business Administration) to integrate trade policy and trade promotion efforts in order to identify new opportunities for expanding SME trade. Trade Education. USTR will plan joint ―trade education‖ events with other agencies, including some focused on expanding SME trade with particular regions (e.g., Africa). Dispute Settlement Proceedings. USTR will consult interagency, with Congress, and with outside stakeholders when considering initiation of a WTO or FTA dispute settlement proceeding. 23
  28. 28. New Technology Platforms. A technology platform under consideration to improve collaboration among people within and outside USTR includes taking advantage of planned enhancements to the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS). FDMS is the ―backend‖ component to eRulemaking. These enhancements include a document management capability to allow staff, across all government agencies, to collaborate on review of public comments and supporting documentation. Another technology platform under consideration is OMB’s MAX Federal Community which is currently used by OMB and Federal agencies to share information and collaborate. V. Flagship Initiative -- Trans-Pacific Partnership Overview. USTR’s Flagship Initiative will focus on the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement negotiations. In December 2009, President Obama announced his intention to enter into negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the TPP Agreement, with the objective of shaping a high-standard, broad-based regional pact. The initiative is focused on expanding trade with the fastest-growing region in the region and is intended to expand American exports and retain and creating good jobs in the United States. The first round of negotiations was held in mid-March following vigorous consultations with Congress and stakeholders. This new initiative presents an excellent opportunity to engage more robustly and in new ways with the American public to gain input as the Administration crafts its trade policy. It is appropriate that this high-quality, broad-based 21st Century free trade agreement be developed using the latest technology tools. Therefore, USTR is offering a collaborative online environment based on wiki technology to coordinate the myriad of documents associated with these talks. Plan To Engage Public/Maintain Dialogue. The Administration will develop its negotiating objectives for the TPP Agreement consistent with its pledge to engage fully with diverse stakeholders in America. To that end, this Administration has embarked upon an unprecedented scale and scope of consultative outreach related to TPP involving all 50 states and Congressional committees of jurisdiction and other interested committees. USTR is seeking advice not only on issues that have been covered in recent U.S. FTAs, but on cross-cutting issues, including how to use the agreement to support regional integration, encourage regulatory coherence across the parties to the agreement, promote competitiveness of new and emerging industries and technologies, build supply chains that retain jobs in the United States, enhance the ability of small- and medium-sized businesses 24
  29. 29. to export their products and services, increase transparency, and promote development. This effort will also demonstrate that a properly designed process of expanded consultation with stakeholders and Congress does not have to slow down trade negotiations, but can in fact energize talks. USTR is undertaking a 50-state outreach strategy to encourage broad input and constructive dialogue on U.S. objectives in the TPP negotiations. USTR also has expanded and updated its TPP webpage (ustr.gov/tpp) and will use social media tools to widen outreach on this initiative even beyond face-to-face events. Budget permitting, this effort will include live streaming of as many TPP field hearings as possible on USTR.gov, as well as webinars, live blogs and interactive chat sessions. www.ustr.gov/tpp. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is currently housed under the Free Trade Agreements section of USTR.gov. It holds a right-side callout for the following information: negotiations schedule, hearing/online chat schedule, FAQs, issues regarding the Agreement, relevant websites, Ask USTR, and links to relevant information (blogs, pictures, video, etc.). As with other pages on USTR.gov, we will update the text on the page often. General Online Outreach. There are a few options that will expand our message and reach through online outreach. By using other outlets we can lead people to USTR.gov/tpp for more information. We will focus on utilizing other blogs and websites to explain the TPP initiative. Suggested blogs include America.gov, Whitehouse.gov, and constituent blogs (Chamber, AFL- CIO, etc.). Along with using other blogs, and USTR.gov, the PAO office will use USTR’s Facebook and Twitter pages to give the most current updates on the TPP negotiations, as well as Deputy USTR travels. We will add the trips to the USTR.gov travel map. External Partners. As the TPP negotiations proceed, initiative, USTR will continue active outreach to industry, NGOs, and other stakeholders, including outreach in all 50 states in an effort to ensure that stakeholders around the country understand the goals of this negotiation and can contribute to the development of a new 21st- century trade agreement that reflect U.S. priorities and values. Metrics. USTR.gov currently employs web analytics for metrics, and these will be used to track TPP-related elements. USTR is consulting regularly with cleared advisers as well as industry, NGO, academics and other stakeholders and will continue do so throughout the negotiations. 25
  30. 30. USTR is following up with stakeholders who responded to our initial Federal Register Notice seeking input on the initiative and we plan to issue additional Federal Register Notices as appropriate to solicit ideas on specific issues. We also are soliciting ideas and questions via the USTR blog and TPP webpage. How Initiative Will Be Sustained. This is the Administration’s highest priority—jobs creation. Top down focus from the Ambassador is driving the initiative. Budgetary resources permitting, USTR will bring on board a new media specialist to manage the initiative. VI. Public and Agency Contribution to the Plan Public New Media Tools. USTR will use new media tools to involve the public and provide supplemental outreach and interaction on TPP and other initiatives to the extent possible given budget and staffing constraints. Web logs, video streams, Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletter, events and speeches around the country serve as avenues of dialogue regarding USTR’s mission to make trade work for American families. Feedback Form. The public is encouraged to share their ideas for how USTR’s open government plan can increase transparency, participation, and collaboration. They are asked to tell USTR what information we should prioritize for publication and their thoughts on the quality of our published information. Comments received are provided to all members of the OpenGov Steering Committee for appropriate action. Employees Open Government Steering Committee. Employees will continue to be extensively engaged internally, with Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (AUSTR) leadership, to provide staff resources and ideas to implement specific outreach initiatives using new media tools. We established a cross-USTR OpenGov Steering Committee. Core membership includes the Office of Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Public and Media Affairs, Office of Economic Affairs, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, Office of Market Access and Industrial Competitiveness, Office of Policy Coordination and Information, Office of Congressional Affairs, Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and the Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation. 26
  31. 31. Sought Further Employee Involvement. To ensure we are open to any ideas employees may have on this initiative, we formally asked for further representation from other regional and functional offices, as well as any interested employees. Employees from the Office of Agricultural Affairs, Office of Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Multilateral Affairs, and the Office of the Americans all volunteered to be part of this initiative. We have opened lines of communication to all employees for their ideas on this initiative. We shared the draft Open Government Plan with all employees and incorporated their ideas for improvement. As a result, we made substantive improvements to the plan and both internal processes and our website along the way. VII. The Way Ahead USTR intends to learn from the activities identified in this plan and will capture the benefits and lessons learned. USTR, through the Open Government Steering Committee will describe how lessons are being considered to make lasting improvements in how the Agency conducts its efforts. Those changes will be incorporated into subsequent revisions of this plan. USTR will leverage the governance structure to monitor activities as they progress. Various levels of staff within USTR will engage at decision points and during the review and update of the Agency’s plan. The AUSTR for Administration will maintain the lead role in coordinating many of the routine reporting activities, including updates to Data.gov and flagship project. USTR’s Office of Public and Media Affairs will continue to be responsible for providing guidance in maintaining the ustr.gov/open site as the primary resource to stay informed on all of USTR’s open government activities. USTR is determining how to improve the use of public suggestions for dialogue. USTR will track suggestions from the site and will prepare and make available to the public an analysis of the suggestions. 27

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